ARE YOU LOOKING TO THE REWARD?
By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than the enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
On Tuesday, March 15, 2016, Debbie and I celebrated 30 years of marriage. As with any marriage, we have had our ups and downs. We have experienced the birth of three wonderful girls, the loss of two babies through miscarriage, a major career change as God called me into the ministry at 33, the death of her parents and my dad, eight housing moves, and the common struggles with selfishness and hurt feelings. Through it all, we vowed from day one that divorce was never an option. Whatever the issue, we would pray it out, talk it out, and work it out.
Tuesday night, we were presented with a priceless gift from our three girls. It was a homemade booklet with pictures and text titled, 30 THINGS Y’ALL TAUGHT US ABOUT MARRIAGE. Each daughter shared ten lessons she learned from mom and dad. Now, I am a word-oriented person, so this gift is my favorite ever. As I was rereading the booklet this morning, I was enjoying the reward of providing a stable, loving home and marriage for my girls to grow up in and experience. Without question, this reward is priceless.
IT IS WORTH IT
We live in a day and age of throwaway marriages. For many, when the going gets tough, they choose to bail out rather than work it out. But as Jerry Falwell used to say, “It is always too early to quit!” Oftentimes, the difference between marriages that survive and thrive vs. marriages that wither and die is not that one had problems and one did not. Both had problems, similar problems. The difference is one couple refused to quit, and the other couple said, “I’m outta here.”
To be sure, sometimes marriages cannot be saved. If a spouse selfishly and sinfully breaks the marriage vows through repeated adultery, abuse, or abandonment, the other party may have no other recourse. It takes two to tango … and if one spouse refuses to tango, tragically the marriage will come crashing down. Furthermore, God has not called anyone to live in guilt and condemnation over things of the past that cannot be changed. The blood of Jesus has paid it all, so don’t beat yourself up over failures from days gone by. Confess it to the Lord, make things right with those you wronged, and move on with Jesus.
But for every marriage that cannot be saved, there are hundreds that can be if both husband and wife would put aside their selfishness and focus on the Lord and His reward.
Let me encourage you to take the long look in life and marriage. Be like Moses and choose to endure the hard work that pays big dividends in the end. Remove the word “divorce” from your vocabulary. It is not an option for those couples who want to please God and leave a godly legacy and example to their children. Do not hesitate to get outside help to navigate a rough patch in your relationship. It is not a sign of weakness to see a counselor; it is a sign of wisdom and humility.
Rick Warren often shares that he and his wife Kay were headed toward divorce early in their marriage. Although they loved each other, they couldn’t seem to get along with each other. They fought like cats and dogs. Pastor Rick spent $1,500 (that he didn’t have at the time) for 15 sessions with a marriage counselor. That $1,500 was the best money he ever spent as those sessions taught him and Kay how to work through their problems and frustrations with one another—how to forgive and live together in love, peace, and joy. Just think how differently his life would have turned out had he allowed his pride to keep him from getting the help he needed. In all probability, He and Kay would be divorced, and Saddleback Church would have died in infancy.
Listen, it really does pay to stay together and work it out, regardless of the difficulties. God blesses those who choose the ill-treatment now in light of the reward later. There is no greater joy as a parent than to hear your children say, “I want a marriage like my mom and dad have.” Start today and build a love that lasts and leaves a legacy!
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 149 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
Have you ever felt the painful emotions of loneliness, guilt, worthlessness, anger, worry, frustration, and gloom? Have you ever wondered why you have to endure it? God has a message in your emotions. He wants to help you trace your emotional pain back to the source…and turn that pain into victorious living. In this 8-message series from Pastor Jeff Schreve, he shares insightful messages on anger, discontentment, frustration, worry, guilt, loneliness, and inferiority ... to help you rise above those negative emotions and live in the joy and power of the Holy Spirit.